That’s better. I’ve not been impressed with this mini to date, due to Barry Allen’s miserable nature and too much Speed Force nonsense – the force was never part of Barry’s legend, it was Wally’s thing, so I couldn’t see the sense of it in a Barry-centered book. But writer Geoff Johns does one of his ‘everything’s connected’ tricks, and while this sort of thing often annoys me (eg Rainbow Brite Lanterns), here it makes sense. It even goes some way to explaining Barry’s black mood.
The returned Professor Zoom is incredibly annoying, with his long-winded explanations and pointless revenge plans – nearly everyone in this book can time travel, so whatever evil he does can most likely be undone. Still, his presence does allow for dramatic scenes at the West household which cleverly echo his pre-Crisis antics and motivate the book’s big finish.
The emotional climax for me has Barry pointing out to Max Mercury that he may not have a wife, but he does have his own emotional lightning rod in Bart Allen, so he’s as much a member of the Flash family as anyone. There’s also an intriguing scene involving Jesse Quick . . . but my favourite moments involved Wally.
I was afraid he’d be sidelined with the return of Barry Allen but the third Flash is a massive heroic presence here – despite Jay Garrick and the JLA being on hand, Iris Allen looks to her nephew to find her lost husband and he’s ready for his close-up. There’s no doubt from Wally, he’s full of determination and confidence that he can reclaim Barry from the Speed Force.
Ethan Van Sciver’s art, coloured by Brian Miller, is the best it’s been so far – sharp, not over-cluttered and always serving the story; there are no pin-ups for the sake of it, but several big moments that deserve their full-page splash status. Nevertheless, my favourite illustration is small and simple – Wally West in sprint start position (click to enlarge). Three decades – and the rest! – of reading Flash comics and I don’t recall ever seeing this no-brainer pose. Similarly, the cover is a great idea that’s awfully obvious now someone else has thought of it, and beautifully rendered if we ignore the weird-shaped lightning bolt.
So I’m excited for this mini series again. I just wish it came out a bit, you know, faster.